Australia has returned to India three antiquities, including two stone statues, which were illegally exported out of the country in the recent past, the Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said. The granite stone image of Pratyangira from Tamil Nadu, marble stele showing devotees of Buddha from Andhra Pradesh and red stand stone image of Buddha from Mathura region were handed over to the Ministry of Culture and reached India on December 7.
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The objects were in possession of National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra. The return was under process in consultation with Indian High Commission in the Australian capital, MEA officials on Monday said. “A team of of archaeologists from the the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) visited NGA on September 12-13, 2015 to examine the objects.
“Later on three objects were handed over to the Ministry of Culture by NGA, Canberra in a repatriation ceremony held on September 19, 2016 at NGA, Canberra,” the MEA said in a statement. The objects are currently kept at the Central Antiquities Collection at Purana Qila in New Delhi, it said.
“The Ministry of Culture has decided to showcase these three objects at the National Museum, New Delhi. One of these three objects, the Pratyangira image is a case property of Idol Wing of Tamil Nadu Police and it would be handed over to them after a temporary display at the National Museum,” it added.